By Tom Ashbrook
On Point (11/15/17)
President Trump is remaking the federal bench. Naming judges in record numbers. Some called unqualified. We dive in.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears the tip-top cases, but federal appeals courts rule on many more. Thousands. They shape American life. And at that tier of the federal judiciary, President Donald Trump is pushing through appointees at a rate not seen in half a century. Deeply conservative, quite young appointees with lifetime appointments as judges. Some with deeply disputed qualifications. It may be his deepest stamp. This hour, On Point: The fast, deep Trump stamp on America’s federal courts.
- Jonathan Adler, law professor at Case Western Reserve University. (@jadler1969)
- Kristine Lucius, executive vice president for policy at The Leadership Conference.
- Cogan Schneier, reporter for the National Law Journal. (@CoganSchneier)
All The President’s Judges Will Change The Federal Judiciary For Decades To Come
By Katherine Brewer
Freak Out & Carry On/WBUR (11/16/17)
This week on Freak Out And Carry On, Ron Suskind and Heather Cox Richardson talk with Alicia Bannon, senior counsel at the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. They discuss President Trump’s controversial judicial nominees and the history of the Federalist Society. They also suggest reforms to the American courts system. They also hear from Seung Min Kim, congressional reporter for Politico, and Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute.
Are You Ready To Call This Man ‘Your Honor’?
Over and over, the Trump White House is insisting on political kinship among its appointees rather than expertise. It’s a formula that will produce policy that is pro-business and anti-consumer protection or anti-worker.
So, the EPA is picking industry representatives for various policy advisory roles over scientists, the Department of Education is dropping experienced folks for charter advocates or those favoring lenders over students in consideration of student loans—and now, true conservatives for vacant judgeships, the exact positions that will rule on the appropriateness of these policies.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to approve Brett J. Talley, 36, to a federal court judgeship in Alabama, despite the fact that he has never tried a single case and has been a lawyer for only three years. He is married to White House attorney Ann Donaldson, investigates paranormal activity and is a prolific writer of horror stories. He also has a record of incendiary blog and Twitter posts that denounced “Hillary Rotten Clinton” and calling proposed gun control legislation following the Sandy Hook School shootings “the greatest attack on our constitutional freedoms in our lifetime.”
I think we understand where he stands politically.
The American Bar Association reviewed his materials and rated him “not qualified.” Yet the Judiciary Committee approved him anyway, a virtual guarantee that the full Senate will ratify the decision. As it turns out, three previous Trump judicial nominees have received not qualified ratings. Since 1989, the bar association had unanimously rated only two other judicial nominees as not qualified.
The White House has made it clear that Donald Trump wants to fill vacant judgeships with staunch conservatives. Republicans had blocked Obama appointees for up to 100 vacancies. Trump has made 59 appointments.
Trump has praised the appointment of judges such as Talley as the “untold story” that “nobody wants to talk about.” Last month, Trump pointed out that the judicial appointment “has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge.”
Talley, a deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department, is being considered for a lifetime federal district judgeship. The full Senate could vote as early as today. He graduated from Harvard Law School in 2007. Talley’s lack of experience drew searing questions from Democratic members of the committee. Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) asked Talley, “Do you think it is advisable to put people with literally no trial experience on the federal district court bench?” Talley responded in writing: “It would be inappropriate for me as a nominee to comment on the advisability of any nomination.” …